A workshop on the future of the archaeological profession in Ireland was held in Kilkenny on 8th March, 2011. The aim was to discuss the crisis facing the profession and come up with solutions. The current best estimate by the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI) of numbers working in the profession is 350 from a peak of 1700 in 2008. This may be an overestimate as anecdotally we’re hearing of widespread unemployment nationwide, with people working only sporadically and others on short term or part time hours. Obvioucly we haven’t been immune and have lost some great people over the past two years, through redundancy or lay-offs.

Here’s a link to a pdf of the discussion document which resulted from the workshop..

Archaeological Profession in Ireland 2011

And here’s a link to photos of the flip charts from the forum uploaded by John Tierney:

It should be clear to everyone in the archaeological profession that the current crisis is not a temporary glitch, but there are 2 great dangers in my opinion…

One is that we are reverting to the bad old days when archaeology was seen as a ‘vocation’ (code for badly paid and with crap conditions), and from the anecdotal evidence this is fast becoming a reality, with indications that those who remain in employment at the lower grades are being paid barely above the minimum wage. The second is that standards will fall and that the quality of archaeological work will not be sufficiently policed (both issues were discussed at the forum)….

Lot’s of interesting findings – The IAI are interested in hearing opinions and we’d be delighted to get some comments and a discussion going here. Feel free to add your thoughts below.


  1. […] amounts of new data, of which however there was very little time to publish any. Now that the profession in Ireland is approximately a fifth of the size it was then, and there’s almost no money left, those who are still in jobs like Dr O’Sullivan are […]

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